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House: sewerage system ‘in need of upgrade’

A Bill that could see “modest” taxes on the City of Hamilton's sewerage system bring in $400,000 annually was passed in the House of Assembly yesterday.

During the debate of the Hamilton Sewerage Amendment Act 2016, Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, said the levy for commercial properties with an annual rental value of more than $100,000 would likely reach a maximum of $250 a year.

Properties with an ARV of $30,000 could expect to be charged around $75 a year.

“It's important to stress that what we're talking about is a capital tax to provide a revenue base for upgrades to the sewerage system,” Dr Gibbons said, calling the charges “pretty modest”.

Roughly 2,300 valuation units within the city are connected to the system. There are 28 commercial premises and seven residential units outside the city connected.

The city generates about 45 per cent of the total sewage, which is ultimately pumped off the South Shore, a practice that Dennis Lister of the Progressive Labour Party said was “long past its shelf life” — although the Opposition supports the legislation in main. Mr Lister said the system needed to move beyond screening the sewage to proper treatment, and referred to incidents in which waste matter had washed up on beaches.

Sewage from Hamilton is dumped offshore via the Seabright Outfall, just west of Hungry Bay in Paget.

The system is ageing, and its risk of breaches or other problems increases “year on year”, Dr Gibbons said.

“Given the increasing age of many parts of the sewerage system, the City of Hamilton envisions increasing risks of failure to one or more parts of the system.”

Hamilton's sewerage system includes significant entities outside the city limits, Dr Gibbons told the House, including schools, hotels and King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Update: this story has been amended to include further information from the House of Assembly

Grant Gibbons, the economic development minister (File photograph)

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Published June 03, 2016 at 1:32 pm (Updated June 04, 2016 at 3:12 am)

House: sewerage system ‘in need of upgrade’

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